In university and college dining halls across the country, change is in the air. According to Food Service Director’s 2018 College & University Census, nearly half of all college/university food service operators rehabbed at least part of their facilities in the past year.

The perennially changing student tastes are driving some of those changes, as salad bars and wood-fired ovens made up some of the most popular plans mentioned in the Census. Other popular initiatives point towards another big student trend — the demand for efficiency. 33% of college and university food-service operators surveyed have added or planned to add coffee bars, while 44% cited grab-and-go counters. Almost half indicated they have already added (or planned to add) action stations as well. All of these improvements are geared around speeding students to their chosen purchases and on their way to class.

Most efficiency-boosting measures break down into three buckets:

  • Physical changes, which include the new formats mentioned above as well as entire dining hall redesigns aimed at improving flow;
  • Technology implementations, such as upgraded point-of-sale systems or new mobile apps; and,
  • Staffing measures, including shifting staff around at peak times and/or adding staff to facilitate faster service.

That said, college and university food-service execs may be overlooking a smarter way to shorten those lines and reduce student wait times — advanced entry turnstiles.

Cutting-edge Turnstiles Boost Cafeteria Efficiency & Speed Entry Lines

In the midst of planning for an upcoming dining hall renovation, the Auxiliary Operations team at Notre Dame grappled with a problem that had nothing to do with steam tables or salad bars. Frustratingly, during peak dining hours, bottlenecks at the facility entrances caused lines to stretch all the way out the door. With South Bend, Indiana’s notoriously cold winters, these bottlenecks were causing students to wait outside in freezing temperatures under hastily deployed patio heaters.

Dining hall access control was entirely manual at this point, with multiple full-time employees stationed at the entrances to swipe student cards. Initially, the Auxiliary Operations team planned to solve the problem by adding more staff. Smarter Security proposed a better way: Fastlane® Glassgate optical turnstiles, with pedestal-height barriers.

With a smarter, more compact entrance control solution, Notre Dame realized tremendous advantages:

  • 2X larger entrance;
  • Entry lines move 10x faster;
  • No more students waiting out in the cold;
  • Improved safety, as the Fastlane turnstiles integrate with the fire system;
  • Modern design that complements the sleek new dining hall design; and much more.

Best of all, the Smarter Security turnstile implementation required no additional training for workers, making the solution a quick win for students, dining hall staff, and the university’s food service.

Discover How Fastlane Turnstiles Made Entrance Throughput 10x Faster
Want to learn more about Notre Dame’s solution? Download the case study: Fastlane Turnstiles Spare Hungry Students Long Wait at New Dining Facility.